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my friend from zurich

Zurich's English going-out guide  
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Bars in Zurich

Acapulco: Neugasse 56, Kreis 5; 044 272 66 88; www.acapulco.ch
A neutral décor houses one of Zurich's favourite watering holes on the trendy block that surrounds the Riff-Raff movie theatres. We try not to miss karaoke Sundays.

Almodobar: Bleicherweg 68, Kreis 2; 043 844 44 88; www.almodobar.ch
The Spanish filmmaker should feel honoured. A very lively place in the middle of one of Zurich's deadest neighbourhoods, the location adds to the feeling you're way ahead of the crowd.

Barfüsser; Spitalgasse 14, Kreis 1; 044 251 4064; www.barfuesser.ch
Gay bar, sushi restaurant, all guests welcome: this is the modern world. The interior is cool with footage of fish darting around underwater projected onto its smooth stucco walls. Outside, elegant hipsters lounge in funky seating areas that border onto the no-frills hippie-alternative Café Zähringer next door. We like to sit and watch the two crowds interact. And the sushi is great.

Big Ben Pub; Niederdorfstrasse 52, Kreis 1; 044 262 15 85
An English-style pub, where there's always a game on TV. Its location directly on Niederdorfstrasse attracts a mixed crowd, especially on weekends.

Big Ben Pub West Side; Hardstrasse 234, Kreis 5; 044 271 02 66
The patrons are a bit younger here than in the Niederdorf pub, but the trimmings are the same: sports on TV, darts, Guinness, etc.

Bonnie Prince Pub; Zähringerstrasse 38, Kreis 1; 044 252 70 66; www.bonnie.ch
More Swiss than Scottish (the pub food here is pizza!), but with a nice range of Scottish whiskys, ales and beers.

Einfach; Rämistrasse / Oberdorfstrasse 2, Kreis 1; 043 210 38 06; www.einfach.co
Swiss wines, Swiss design, Swiss specialties for snacks: but non-yodely - this place is not for mass tourism. It's for those who love a good glass among cutting-edge design. We want to take one of the sofa sections home with us.

Hard One; Heinrichstrasse 269, Kreis 5; 044 444 10 00; www.hardone.ch
OK we get it: it's off Hardstrasse. But still... It's all about the cool bar, the stylish people and - most of all - the fabulous view.

Jules Verne Panorama Bar; Uraniastrasse 9, Kreis 1; www.brasserie-lipp.ch
The top of Zurich's observatory offers a 360-degree view of the old town, but little seating, so come early. Saturday afternoon, just after most stores close (these day between 4-5pm) is when the most crowds appear. Enter on the street level through the Brasserie Lipp and take the elevator to the top.

Kaufleuten; Pelikanplatz, Kreis 1; 044 225 33 33; www.kaufleuten.com
The Mecca of Zurich's "shickey-mickey" crowd since the 1980's - a great place to people-watch.

Longstreet; Langstrasse 92, Kreis 4; 044 241 21 72; www.longstreetbar.ch
A no-attitude neighbourhood bar with a small dance floor and eclectic DJs. For the unpretentious.

McGee's; Birmensdorferstrasse 83, Kreis 3; 043 810 50 50; www.mcgees.ch
Neighbourhood pub across from Bahnhof Wiedikon with event nights, including a pub quiz on Thursdays.

Moods; Schiffbaustrasse 6, Kreis 5; 044 276 80 00; www.moods.ch
The No.1 spot for jazz also hosts evenings dedicated to blues, funk, and electronic music.

Morgarten; Morgartenstrasse 6, Kreis 4; 044 242 86 66; www.morgartenbar.ch
Charming and friendly neighbourhood bar that spills out onto the square in warm weather, with good lunches and evening snacks at prices that won't completely evacuate your wallet. International brunches are served on weekends starting at 10 am.

Nelson Pub; Beatengasse 1, Kreis 1; 044 212 60 16
Close to Bahnhofstrasse, so the crowd is very international and often posh. The interior is over-the-top nautical, which gets really fun from the 2nd pint onwards.

Odeon; Limmatquai 2, Kreis 1; 044 251 16 50; www.odeon.ch
A Zurich institution, this jugendstil coffee house and bar has been around since 1911. The former meeting place of intellectuals is these days more of a see-and-be-seen locale (in warm weather, dare to walk the outdoor gauntlet of critical gazes from the excruciatingly hip and you'll see what we mean). The atmosphere gets gayer - and livelier - as the evening wears on.

Oliver Twist Pub; Rindermarkt 6, Kreis 1; 044 252 47 10; www.pickwick.ch
For when we're feeling really homesick. A place where you can actually order at the bar, in English, and nobody thinks you're strange. Comes with a soothing array of English pub food and attracts many Swiss anglophiles. TV sets in every imaginable corner broadcast rugby, soccer/football and cricket matches.

Onyx Bar; Park Hyatt Zurich, Beethovenstrasse 21, Kreis 2; 043 883 12 34; www.parkhuus.ch/bar
So popular you may have trouble finding a place to stand, never mind sit. Has a huge selection of liquor.

Outback Lodge; Stadelhofer Passage, Stadelhoferstr. 18, Kreis 1; www.outback-lodge.ch
Attracts lots of Aussies and their friends - an ex-pat favourite. The pub food has a titillating degree of weirdness (chicken wings yes, but also kangaroo, croc, emu, etc.) for those from the Northern Hemisphere.

Paddy Reilly's; Talstrasse 82, Kreis 1; 043 497 39 66
More spacious than your usual pub, with all the necessary features: a good variety of beers and TV screens covering every angle of vision. Zurich's Irish bar.

Papa Joe's; Schifflände 18, Kreis 1; 044 269 88 88; www.papajoes.ch
Advertises as an American restaurant, but the menu is full of adorable broken English and the place attracts mostly Swiss 20-somethings. You'll still get those nachos, chicken wings, ribs and burgers you've been missing, though. Outdoor seating in summer lets you watch the world go by.

Purpur; Seefeldstrasse 9, Kreis 8; 044 419 20 66; www.purpurzurich.ch
Lie back in a bed of Oriental cushions and munch on snacks while the music supplied by live DJs thumpa-thumpas around you.

Rigiblick; Germaniastrasse 99, Kreis 6; 043 255 15 70; www.restaurantrigiblick.ch
The outdoor terrace and gravel square lined with lounge chairs is a perfect place to flake out after a hard day's work.

Seerose; Seestrasse 493, 8038 Zurich-Wolishofen; 044 481 63 83; www.dinning.ch
That website URL is unfortunately not a typo, but never mind, the location is breathtaking: a lily pad dock that sticks out onto the lake and holds a glass-enclosed main structure surrounded by a deck furnished with a bar, a lounge with comfy deckchairs and a linen-covered formal "dinning" area. Those with their own boat make an entrance by tying directly up to the dock.

Sport Bar Cafeteria; Kanzleistrasse 76, Kreis 4; 043 317 91 09; www.sport-bar.ch
A design-heavy sports bar for vegetarians sounds like one of those bizarre and foofy New Millennium ideas, but the owners assure us it's working. Its light meals and snacks are made from organic local ingredients.

Urania Tapas Bar; Uraniastrasse 7, Kreis 1; 044 210 28 08; www.uraniatapasbar.ch
Crowded and stuffed with young professionals after work. If you get lucky, you and your new date can drift over to the restaurant for some excellent tapas.

Widder Bar; Widdergasse 6, Kreis 1:044 224 25 26; www.widder.ch
The Widder bar combines wood, leather, and glass (and some weirdly overt statutes of ram-men proudly displaying their genitalia) with a huge selection of whiskey for one of the oldest and cosiest bars in town. A traditional source of high-calibre live jazz for decades.

Xenix Bar; Kanzleistrasse 52, Kreis 4; www.xenix.ch
Attached to the Kino Xenix movie theatre, this popular alternative bar attracts all kinds of people from the neighbourhood plus artsy types and the politically leftward-leaning. The action spills out onto the gravel yard in warm weather, and it's a great place to hang out with a drink & meet people.

 

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